Truth & Glory

Over the past couple of years the word glory has been peaking my curiosity.  And after studying it out a bit, the word now holds a different light and understanding for me.  It is this new understanding which supplied the inspiration for the name Glory Abides.  When I began to think of the ‘why’ behind writing a blog, it was because I wanted to teach, explore writing, and a love for the truth behind 2 Corinthians 3:18 where it says ‘from glory to glory’ or ‘from one degree of glory to another.’  We are being transformed, from glory, to glory because of the Holy Spirit!  I’m looking forward to sharing more on this in the future.

The Greek word for glory is doxa, and it means to honor, worship; the unspoken manifestation of God.  Then the next little bit of the definition takes us to a different place; opinion (always good), hence praise, honor & glory.  Opinion (always good).  This last little bit intrigues me. Upon a little more digging the word, doxa, also comes from the base word of dokeō which means forming or to have an opinion, appear, I think or seem.

As I begin to understand this word, glory, my personal working definition looks like this, “praise resulting from a good and accurate opinion or estimate.”  And, it’s always good.  ALWAYS.  It’s our the praise to God that results from a good and accurate opinion of God and truth.

Currently, my Monday night Ladies Bible Study is working through Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God study.  It is super powerful and God is using this study in awesome ways!  I highly recommend it, no matter where you are in your faith walk.  We’ve learned about several other groups doing this study right now, including some beautiful ladies in Swaziland!  So as we begin each session in prayer, I am gratefully aware of His heavenly army of Warrior Princesses tucked all over this beautiful planet. 

One of the first things we studied was the belt of truth.  And I love how Priscilla describes truth.  She tells us that truth is God’s opinion on any matter.  That’s practical to me, it sticks.  I can explore God’s opinion on any matter by reading scripture, and take what I think out of the equation.  I have thoughts, but do they line up with what God says about it?  Truth can be the ultimate filter as we do life.

As I worked through day one of the second week of this study, we were asked to recall the definition of truth and write it in our own words.  Well, I just wrote Priscilla’s definition…it was so good and simple!  ”God’s opinion on any matter”.  But now, when I hear the word opinion in reference to scripture, I’ve started to think of God’s glory.

A question began to swirl around me as we studied about truth being God’s opinion and it’s impact on us spiritually as we live life.  ‘What would glory look like in a particular situation?’  When I’m quickly plunged into circumstances which requires a response, sometimes a quick question to ask myself is helpful; a filter, before I do or say something which is less than desirable.  What would glory look like here?  How can I reflect God’s glory?  And in turn, I hope that my response would reflect God because I’ve girded myself with truth, God’s opinion and not my own clouded in judgement or finite experiences.  What would glory look like, act like, or think like?  I must, in my human understanding, trust and believe the true opinion of God.  Truth.

What would glory look like here?  Would it reflect light, love and peace to others?  Would it be glorifying to God?  I’m looking forward to testing this question! 

#armorofgodstudy

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Menó :: Abide

The journey over the past year has been a bit of a roller coaster.  There have been some pretty great highs and steep, deep lows with lots of twists and turns along the way.  At Silver Dollar City, there is a ride called Fire In The Hole.  It’s an older roller coaster type ride, nothing huge.  But there’s this part you can hear the tape holler “fire in the hole!” as you drop into the dark.  Your belly visits your throat, like it would on a curvy country road.  But it’s black as night and you can’t see the rails, or the car, in front of you.  Not only did I physically experience that ride over the past 12 months, in ways I feel like it was life.  And I kept wanting to holler, “Fire in the hole!”

I’ve experienced a lot of change over the past few months, and I’m super excited about where some of the hard stuff  and life is leading towards.  But the path has been made clear, even when I don’t know what all the stairs up and down the trail look like.  And for that I am grateful, because honestly I think it would be too scary if I could see the whole picture in one big swoop. 

So a piece of that picture is this blog thing, whatever it ends up looking like, Glory Abides.  The name came in stages.  (As will the explanation.)  And the abide part started in the fall with a study, and then with a challenge from my paster to a 21 day fast.  The last time I fasted, it was my chai tea.  This time, the what to fast came so quickly I barely had to think about it.  The Spirit within clearly nudged me to abide in the LORD; make no decisions or commitments, don’t look for a new job, spend time in His word and in prayer, spend time with those who are life giving.  Abide in the Lord.  Honestly, it felt a bit ambiguous.  Not like last time where I chose to not enjoy by daily beverage, my “coffee”, for Lent.   And I’m not gonna lie, there were a few days I felt utterly lost.  

But this fall I feel in love with the word abide, and now that I’m aware it’s plastered all over scripture like a big fat blinking arrow.  In the Greek, it is menó and means to remain, to be held, kept, to wait for, not to depart, to sojourn, and (one of my favorite bits) to tarry.   And it’s also a verb, so in my mind it’s like the action of waiting. 

So many times we don’t think something is changing, because in our eyes we can’t see it.  However, I’m learning that there is so much that can take place in the abiding, the “active” waiting.  Recently, I did  Kelly Minter’s study What Love Is on 1,2,3 John.  (It’s great by the way!)  And she talked about how fast the cucumbers in her garden were growing.  I thought about it more like my zucchini; in the morning they are these cute little things not quite ready to be picked but by the next day they were miraculously TOO big for the sauté pan! They didn’t look like they were growing, but they abided in the vine and produced much fruit. (Check out John 15!) 

So much can happen when we abide in God.  We are held by Him.  We can continue with Him, with His strength.  We can tarry in His presence.  At the end of the 21 days, I realized that this wasn’t just supposed to be a fast, but a new way of life.  I love and see beauty by intentionally abiding in the Lord each day. 

We are called to abide in Him, and He will abide in us.  In John 6:56, Jesus tells us “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (ESV)  That may sound a little grotesque, but it’s Jesus basically saying that if we accept Him as Messiah, he will remain in us and we will remain in him.  We will reside and stay with each other.  He will not leave or forsake you.  And I love in Ephesians 2:22 when Paul tells us that, “In him you also are being built together into dwelling places for God by the Spirit.” (ESV) Through the Holy Spirit, we become a place for God to reside in us, dwell and remain. 

SONY DSCSince November, I’ve watched this little orchid bud grow ever so slowly.  At one point I thought it would never actually bloom, and perhaps even shrivel up to a nub.  And then, it was like over night this lovely yellow blossom appeared, in the waiting.  The waiting has been well worth the reward, and it will last for months!

Honestly, over the past few months when I was secretly hollering “Fire In the Hole!”, shedding tears or wrestling with anger and fear, it was the abiding and trusting the Lord that helped keep my head above the waves.  Along with a loving husband and some really great praying sisters-in-Christ!

The Lord abides in us, and we can abide in him.  So there’s the first little part of where the name Glory Abides comes from.   Menó.  I love that word.   And, oh for His GLORY! 

Blinding Light

The other morning, I had some interesting thoughts while driving home after dropping the kids off at school.  We were a happy car load on the way to school, singing and talking like normal.  Some fairly strong storms had moved through in the wee hours before sunrise and everything was rain soaked.  It was a beautiful morning by now; the sky had cleared completely and the wind had settled down, so our spirits were bright.

As I turned on to the outer road of the highway, heading towards the sunrise, it became blinding.  It was like a whole new world had been exposed, and I wasn’t so sure I wanted any part of it.  My beautiful, carefree morning, became harsh and uncomfortable.  I reached for my sunglasses, only to find that they were left at home.  Ugh.  Guess I’ll just have to grin and bear it a few miles until I can turn and drive the other direction. 

How could something so dark, like the black asphalt road, be so blindingly bright?  I’ve been reading a lot in scripture about light and darkness, and the idea of John 1:5 came to mind.  It says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  This black as night road, accentuated black because of the rain, as we headed towards school was now so bright I could hardly stand it.  It reflected into every aspect of the world around me. 

It’s my understanding that in scripture, the Holy Spirit and water are kind of related.  I love that.  It brings such comfort to me for some reason; like it can wash you clean and quench a thirst.  We had received plenty of rain the night before, which was causing this blinding reflection off of the asphalt.  I imagined that the Holy Spirit had just poured down upon us, and the light of the sun was shining so brightly that no matter what, the darkness couldn’t even stand it.   

It’s like when the Holy Spirit shines this heavenly flash light on portions of my life.  Sometimes I want to run and hide, put on the sunglasses and just wait until the flash light shines on something or someone else.  But when I do that, I miss the real gift the Holy Spirit is trying to provide; healing and wholeness.  Instead of running for cover, what would happen if I just kept “driving”?  The darkness will not overtake the light, that’s a promise from God. 

Something else that came to mind is that we are called to be reflections of Christ, being transformed to reflect His love and light.  2 Corinthians 3:18 continues to be a theme over the past few months, I just love it so much and could go on and on. But, not now.  “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (HCSB)  That part about looking in a mirror, it means that we are being reflections of the glory of the Lord!  The Holy Spirit showers us, and we get to grow and be transformed from one bit of glory to the next.  That black-top road had been rained on, and reflected back a most blinding light that could not be ignored!

If we allow the Holy Spirit to have way in our life, it may be really uncomfortable.  Especially when we experience some conviction.  But it will overpower the darkness, as promised.  It will bring much needed refreshment to the soul.  It will cause new life to sprout up from places that we thought were dead, or shriveled up.  Parts that maybe we had given up on.  And then, we can’t help but reflect the love and light and joy within. 

I may reach for my glasses, for safe driving, next time.  But honestly, I want to soak up the light!  That bit of pain or uncomfortableness is well worth it, because it fills me with light and love, and the remembrance to let the Holy Spirit’s love shine, even the dark places.  Exposing my “uglies” so that I may be a pure vessel, reflecting that love back to others.

What is that spiritual flash light shining on for you right now?  It can overpower the darkness it you let it, and it’s power source is love.

Time For Fun

This morning my loving and sweet, almost 10 year old, son came into our room just like usual.  I love seeing his face first thing in the morning, and it seemed just like any other morning.  Usually it’s “Hey Mom, can I play on the iPad or computer?”  But this morning it was, “Hey Mom, we’re late for school!”  It was said with deep anxiety but not in panic, he’s not one for wild emotion.  “WHAT?!” I said, looking out window.  It was a bit cloudy, maybe we did over-sleep.  Weird.  And as I flipped over my clock to check the time, it was 6:45 a.m., with perfect timing he exclaims “April fools!”  All I could do was smile at him and laugh at his amusement and proud laughter.  He got me.  We don’t do April Fools, but obviously he does. 

Our son continually surprises me, usually with a little less shock effect.  I just love how God has created us all so different.  I love God’s creative license.  He takes it not only with our looks, but our personality, talents and gifts.  I love how God’s humor, because he does have one, can shine through in each of us.  I love how God’s playfulness can be expressed in us, and I love seeing it manifested in my kiddos. 

I believe we are meant to enjoy this life given to us.  Sometimes I’m not always the best at enjoying it, being that I’ve had a lot of training in hard work.  I look around and see the list of things to do.  I make the ‘easy yoke’ I’m supposed to be carrying heavier that it really is.  At what point did I ‘out grow’ the joking and play?  The answer is, I don’t know.  However, I believe that God desires us to enjoy His creations and take delight in Him.  Why would he have created it?  And there is so much to explore and be curious about!  Skunks, chickens (have you ever seen a chicken run, let alone lay an egg nearly every day?), elephants, the zillions of fish?! The Grand Canyon and the depths of the oceans and Mount St. Helens?!  There’s so much!

For the past two years, our kiddos have attended summer school.  It was a necessary thing due to schedules and work, and they went willingly to play with friends.  However, as the packets came home this week for summer school I believe it was a unanimous “Not this summer!”.   Last summer went all too quickly, and it didn’t feel like we had enough fun time as a family.  But Spring Break got the pump primed for some fun, play and rest!  Our life here on this earth is so short, and the time with our children while they are young is even shorter.  There is so much fun to be had!  There’s a lot of hard work to be done, but it can be done with a loving and playful heart. 


photo (1)I’m so excited to have a summer with them.  We’ll work hard; taking care of our farm, other responsibilities and what God has called us to do.  But one of those things we’re called to do, I believe, is to have fun and play.  It’s good for the heart and soul.  I’ve always been good at snuggling and playing (especially dance parties!) with my kids, but lately I’ve been doing a better job at playing with them.  Instituting a personal rule that if they ask for me to play with them I stop and play, even if it’s for only a few moments in the middle of fixing supper.   (We finally played a full game of Monopoly, it took a week!)  I don’t do it perfectly, a work in progress.  I don’t think God ever denies us when we ask to spend time with Him. 

Verses from Ecclesiastes have been coming up this week.  So I think I’ll be praying this, especially the bold portion, over our family this summer because not only will we be working hard in the busy season with our farm, but I want to be having loads of fun too.  And enjoy the bountiful gifts God has given, which include my children and husband. 

“What does the worker gain from his struggles?  I have seen the task that God has given people to keep them occupied. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life. It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it.  God works so that people will be in awe of Him. Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed.”  Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 (HCSB)

In this world, finding the balance in working hard and enjoying the freedom of play is challenging sometimes.  There are struggles, but I want to become better at enjoying the jokes and silliness along the way. We have a good life!  And our morning joke was a fun way to start this day!